Misfortune at Hotel Fortuna in Eforie Nord

You probably remember about our last year’s vacation at Hotel Fortuna in Eforie Nord. It was a pleasant stay and, even though there was nothing spectacular about it, we were still extremely pleased and we’ve decided to do it again this year.

And since the hotel provided us with a good experience and it was close to restaurants & supermarkets, while still decently close to the beach, we had no hesitation to book our stay there once more. Plus, in the mean time, the hotel also got a reward from a highly valued Trip Advisor-like website in Romania. All was good!

Well, this year… all was not good, actually. We were simply unlucky to get one of what was probably the worst rooms (actually, an apartment) in Hotel Fortuna. They were completely packed and had absolutely no other rooms available, they were handing them in to tourists as the previous tourists were leaving and after the fastest possible cleaning was done.

The hotel’s reception area was filled with angry tourists demanding their rooms and it wasn’t very pleasant to look at. However, this was not necessarily the hotel’s fault: it was about 12 PM when they were fighting and the hotel had a huge sign saying that the check in starts at 6 PM (yes – SIX!). It’s actually understandable that they do need time to clean up the rooms and since the hotel was fully booked, they really had little to do but to listen to the unhappy tourists who, also understandably, wanted their rooms.

misfortune at hotel fortuna

Our apartment was among the first to be ready, to the disappointment of other tourists who arrived before us, but we still had to wait the extra 30 minutes in the lobby simply because the guy at the reception desk forgot to tell us it’s ready. He did apologize, that’s true, but it was still highly unprofessional.

However, that was not the bad thing: the apartment itself was! Although nice and clean, with a small but cozy living room and a huge bedroom, it all went crashing when I found out that there was no air conditioning in the bedroom itself – just the central air conditioning system in the living room.

Actually, there was an air conditioning unit in the bedroom, but no remote control. So I had to make a trip to the reception and ask for the remote control. They guy told me that I don’t need one because there’s central air conditioning in the bedroom as well.

I went up to check again – I indeed could’ve missed it in the first place as I was tired. It turns out that I wasn’t that tired though and indeed there was no central air conditioning, just the unit itself, without a remote control.

After another visit to the reception, they still didn’t believe me. They sent the cleaning lady with me to show me how to use the centralized air conditioning system. She was shocked to find out that there wasn’t one in the bedroom, as I kept saying.

At that moment, I was shocked too that two people working at that hotel had no idea how the rooms looked and were like – especially the cleaning lady who should’ve at least cleaned the apartment before our arrival.

We went down to the reception again, for the third time, with confirmation from the cleaning lady, and this time the guy at the reception called a manager to discuss things further.

Her claim was that the air conditioning unit in the room was part of the “old hotel” and they no longer had the remote controls for them. They were unusable, although the unit was obviously working, plugged in (not by us, it was like that when we arrived there) and the led light was green, showing that everything was OK.

We demanded another apartment, but they were fully booked. And, to make things even worse, there were no apologies on their side. Nobody said they were sorry for this, nobody tried to make us feel better or give us another option. They just informed us about the facts and as soon as the manager finished explaining me about the “old hotel’s” air conditioning unit, she turned around and started doing something else without even caring to see if I had anything to say.

Normally, I should’ve left the hotel to find another place to stay at. But the hotel itself was fully booked until the 4th of September as I later heard at the reception. All other hotels were probably in a similar position. And at least we had been here before and knew that at least the rooms were clean, things were working as they should’ve (except for the air conditioning, apparently) and without prior research, you can really have an even worse experience at a hotel.

It was, mostly, stay there or go home. And when you’ve just arrived with a three-year-old who kept telling you for the past two weeks “I can’t wait to get to the beach!” you decide to stay there and do it like Romanians do: find a way to make the s**t work.

It was a bad experience and I am sure that most of the people staying at Hotel Fortuna in Eforie Nord will have a pleasant stay, just like we had last year. But we were unlucky to get one of their (probably) worst available apartments and we were treated with a complete lack of respect by the manager. The reception desk guy was polite but had no way to help us and it was clear that the people working there didn’t really know their hotel.

As a result, even though the regular rooms were perfect for us last time we visited, it’s this final experience that matters the most and we will most definitely not return to stay at the hotel.

Lessons learned here? Customer service in Romania is still lacking greatly. One of the things that Hotel Fortuna is praised for is how friendly and professional the staff is. That’s something that we have appreciated last year too, but this year they were clueless and even though they stayed polite (which you still won’t get in many hotels in Romania), they were unprofessional and not even once said sorry for the entire mess.

Also, I’ve also learned that even the most praised hotels have their weak spots and in our case we ended up in one. But fortunately, this wasn’t a holiday breaker and we had a great time at the beach, in the end and our kid never felt any of these problems – and this is all that matters.

So although the air conditioning didn’t work as expected (the centralized one in the living room simply wasn’t able to cool down the bedroom even though we kept the door open) we made it work. There will always be bad experiences, they are part of life, no matter how much you research something or how well prepared you think you are.

However, I personally left with a sour taste in my mouth… but with a nice tan too. It was our last ever visit to Hotel Fortuna, but fortunately Romania has so many other options (with more and more really impressive hotels being built every year) that we won’t have problems finding even better ones.

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8 thoughts on “Misfortune at Hotel Fortuna in Eforie Nord”

  1. Hi Calin,
    No pics of your tan?
    Yeah, it’s like with a TV–with no remote, you’re scr*wed! No overhead fans in the rooms, either?
    Sounds as if you should do a write up on Trip Advisor or Yelp. The comments can make the owners take notice of bad service.
    You and Eric, being “beach people,” ought to spend some time in Portugal–I bet you’d have a blast!
    What did the “Mrs” think, or are you the one who dealt with the less-than-stellar customer service?
    I am glad your son was blissfully unaware of the situation–kids have a way of making lemonade out of lemons.;-)
    I hope your next vacay will be more of a pleasant experience!
    ~Teil (USA)

    • Hello Teil, no tan photos now indeed. 🙂 I will make sure to let a review so they know what they did wrong. My wife didn’t have to deal with the customer service, although she accompanied me on one of the occasions. The discussions were brief and pointless :))

      I think I will do another article about the beaches in Romania as everything here is still incredibly cheap by all standards and the quality of service generally decent, but this year we were for some reason in a “no pictures” mood and apart from a bunch of photos of ourselves, we didn’t take photos of anything else – maybe so because we were there last year and things were mostly the same. But the prices themselves are something worth talking about as I personally believe that it can’t get any cheaper anywhere else in the world.

  2. Hope you don’t mind me telling an experience I had yesterday. I’m visiting my 93 year-old dad in California. Well, the VERY pricey assisted living facility he lives in decided they wanted to change cable TV services. After assuring everyone they would be much happier with the new one, it turned out many older TV sets were not compatible with the new service. They just hooked up the old TVs and left the room, assuring the residents all would be well. All was not well. They then hastily assured us that the old cable service could be reattached until they got the problems sorted out. No, the old service had been cancelled by the assisted living management and the residents were told by the old cable service they would have to sign new individual contracts if they wanted to continue what they previously had had. The management then suggested that “resident relatives” should go out and buy new TVs, “Go to Costco where the TVs are cheap.” Well, few residents had any relatives staying with them and most weren’t members of Costco. This was my cue to spring into action. After some brief research in the Internet, I went to Target to find an ultra high definition TV set. After some discussion with the staff person there, I decided on one of the TVs on display. The sales person disappeared and then came out with a TV set, proclaiming it the last one of the TV set I desired. I paid up, somewhat surprised the price was less than the displayed TV set. I lugged this immense 50 inch boxed TV into and out of my car and then up to my dad’s room. As I began to open the box, I noticed the fine print on the outside which showed this was not the ultra high definition TV I had selected in the store. A telephone call soon established that I had been given the wrong TV and the one I wanted was not available. “My bad,” was the only apology I got. I was instructed to lug the unwanted TV to another store further away and exchange it there for the one I wanted. Bleary-eyed from jet lag, I lugged the thing back into the car and drove to the new store. After a long wait until the one staffer took care of another customer, I explained the situation and it was taken care of. By the time I got back to my dad’s place, all the maintenance staff had gone home for the day. So no TV and this morning the staff still hasn’t shown up to connect the new one. These are the same maintenance people whom I asked yesterday for a tire pressure gauge and was told, “We don’t check tire pressures, we only fill up tires that have gone flat in the garage. You need to ask the transportation staff for a pressure gauge.” I didn’t feel like asking them how they could fill up flat tires without a pressure gauge, so I went to the reception desk and made a request with the transportation department. Not a peep from them since then. So ends my unhappy story about customer service in America. I now have a new appreciation for the wonderful and competent service I have been taking for granted in Japan. Thanks for your commiseration.

    • Thanks for sharing that with us! I never thought that something like the whole mess you have described could happen in the US, but it’s pretty obvious that I was completely wrong. So this means, in the end, that we in Romania are actually doing it the “American way” :))

      You don’t usually hear these stories in the media and probably that’s the reason why our opinion on a given country is often wrong, shaped by the media and fed to us exactly as they want us to think of it. That’s one of the reasons I am trying to share both the good and the bad about Romania – so that people know that even though this country is beautiful and there are so many good things making it a perfect destination, it’s far from perfect.

  3. Oh that must have been a sucky experience! Nothing like heat to really put me in a bad mood, especially with menopause when l feel miserably hot all the time it seems like. Be assured like Stuart said above, customer service can be pretty horrible indeed. I do think you should write it on trip advisor just to make others aware. They could have offered fans or something just to smooth things over. Our latest bad experience among many was in Madrid. The hotel we usually stay at has the free airpot shuttle and you are supposed to be there 10 minutes before departure. We, along with like 12 other people were kept waiting in the bus for over 20 minutes past departure time. Finally Federico got pissed and went to complain to the concierge (whom we had handed our postcards to be mailed) only to be told someone hadn’t shown up yet. Well, you can imagine how upset Federico was and let him know it. We all risked losing our flights because of some twat. So he told the driver he could leave, no apology nothing. We went on to Stockholm from there, and then to Rome. We always send postcards to certain friends from everywhere we go. Guess which one they haven’t received? They got ones from Stockholm and Rome, but not one from Madrid. I am sure he threw the postcards away out of spite. It’s not over as l am writing the hotel to complain, and for sure that was the last time we will stay with them. Imagine, l had mentioned them in good light on the post, now l am thinking of taking it off. Glad you didn’t let it ruin your holiday though and that you had fun despite the major inconvenience.

    • Yes, these things happen all over the world and the worst thing is that they can happen in locations that have been personally tested in the past, as was the case of Hotel Fortuna – and your hotel. It was even more unprofessional, though, to have the postcards thrown away… this proves that bad people exist everywhere and our only choice is to try and make the best out of every bad situation.

  4. C. We had the exact same experience in Eforie Nord. 1st year was good 2nd year that same hotel had no screen on window and no A.C. so eaten alive by mosquitos and bathroom smelled. Was horrible and it is no longer in business so can’t tell you the name. On an up note we stayed at another nice one last year that has probably gone to L again this year. I guess it is a roll the dice situation. On the up side you are right about the prices they cannot be beat. I need to develop a strategy to improve my odds of getting a good one however.

    • One strategy, if you don’t want to book well in advance, could be to wait and read the reviews from people going in May-June, if you are leaving in late July or August. This is how we discovered the hotel last year 🙂 However, in this case, there’s always the risk that they’ll be fully booked…

      Hopefully things will stabilize over the next few years and good hotels will remain good hotels.


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